Echo Brown stars in her critically acclaimed solo show "Black Virgins Are Not For Hipsters"

Echo Brown had no acting experience when she set out to write her autobiographical solo show “Black Virgins Are Not For Hipsters.” But her honesty and sharp sense of humor drew audiences to fill the Bay Area’s Marsh Theater for over year, where her show was extended seven times. Though the show’s premise is light — a giddy Brown is preparing for the arrival of her hipster date — it also delves deeply into Brown’s experience as a black woman in America. With her final performances coming up at Tribe Oakland this week, we’ll speak with Brown about the power of storytelling and what it was like to write about race and sexual violence so personally.

Echo Brown, writer and actress, "Black Virgins Are Not For Hipsters"

  • Kevin Skipper

    Just tuned in. Sounds really good. Curious, as to who is your target audience?

  • Kevin Skipper

    Satire through cathartic telling of ones family story, beautiful.
    The me though, am I the only one who notices that despite a reluctance to include our stories, middle class white audiences seem eager to hear from black women when it comes to relating their struggles with black men and their growing curiosity regarding the mysterious conceptualization that is the white, hipster “male.”

    I’m asking, in part, because this is the second time in as many episodes that I have heard the host suggest a young black fails author that her work reminds him of Toni Morrison. Is that necessarily a good thing?


  • Kevin Skipper

    Thanks for addressing my earlier question. Refreshing to hear from an artist who isn’t necessarily trying to shoulder the burden of a whole race but tell a personal story.

    Good advice.

    Sometimes I think about telling my story. I know there is a lot of it that could help people. At the same time, I feel a certain reluctance to talk about the relationship dysfunctions that I have encountered, dating both inside and outside my race.

    Seems that the mainstream ear is open to black, queer men telling in a way that it isn’t open to straight men. On the other hand, seems like Morrison, Walker, Kerry Washington and Isaac Rae’s can’t tell enough tragic stories about their “Black Love Struggles…” Seems there is an unlimited thirst to hear a young black woman justify the heavily implied social need to help save her from the stereotypical black man.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Am I another Angry Black Man, criticizing my Ivy League-educated sisters without even reading their books? I must admit, yes. At the same time, I’ve never seen a show on a white woman’s book about her struggles dating the stereotypical, waif-loving, white man-boy or her subsequently developing to dating inner city black men! At the same time, even as I write this, I’m reminded that certain binaries aren’t necessarily diametric. Could it be that a young woman at Dartmouth might not find a virtual cornucopia dating diversity? Imagine that.
    At some point, one must account for the fact that race, money, sex, opportunity and their respective social demographics, in this case, define one another.
    Often, I feel like I want to encourage discussion and examination of these trends but don’t believe that in what has been a somewhat self-congratulating atmosphere of liberal conversation about race, sex and power, that message would be very well-recieved.

    In truth those serve as some reason or excuse foIn the end, I can only offer congratulations and recognition to those who decide to tell the stories that they see as relevant. As I listen to individual stories of those who have been through this process, I have faith that those of us who wish to contribute, to add our voice, to have our story heard, do so. In the end, the urgency to give life to a story becomes a more important objective than the egotistical desire to change minds or even, perhaps, hearts.

    Thanks, to everyone at “Forum” and to Echo Brown for taking the time and doing the work to share stories and encouraging a bit of deeper thinking and consideration. Wishing you all the best.


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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